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Anastasiades: 'We send a strong message about the Europe we want'

TAGS: Cyprus, EU, Elections, Politics

After voting in the European elections on Sunday, Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades said his country wants to send a message on the Europe its citizens want, with closer cooperation on foreign, monetary and border policy.

“This is yet another day that democracy is celebrating, a day we decide on the large family of the European Union, a day when we want to send a strong message about the Europe we want, a Europe with a common foreign policy, a single monetary policy, a policy that will be a policy of cohesion and solidarity, and especially a Europe with common borders,” Anastasiades said.

"We must not forget the importance of our participation, the importance of security for our country,” he said, adding that “it was different when we were isolated and it is different today when we feel we belong to a family of 27 states."

Voting is running smoothly on the island, with the turnout at 10 a.m. local time standing at 7.3 percent, compared to 6.4 percent in the European Elections of 2014. The Turkish Cypriot turnout stands at 1.3 percent compared to 0.4 percent in the European Elections of 2014.

Turnout at noon reached 18 percent in line with the 2014 vote.

President Anastasiades said that it was for this reason that he called on everyone to vote. “It is our obligation to participate in these elections and that is why I welcome the fact that in this election process more and more Turkish Cypriots acknowledge the importance of Europe, because if we are speaking about European citizens, we are speaking about all legitimate citizens of the Republic of Cyprus,” he pointed out.

Cyprus needs the EU more than ever, said the President of the Democratic Rally (DISY) Averof Neofytou, and pointed out the importance of voting in today’s European Elections.

Speaking in Nicosia, Neofytou said that “today is the time of the European Union, the moment when all of us should weigh the benefits of our participation, but also the responsibility of our abstention.”

“It is wrong to take the benefits for granted and believe the dangers are inexistent. Our country does not have the luxury of turning back, it does not have the luxury of being marginalized again, especially today. Our country needs Europe more than ever. The message should be loud and clear that Cyprus belongs to the countries with a clear European direction and does not belong to the countries that are fighting against Europe and European integration,” he said.

The EU “determines our lives to a great extent and it is important to give our own opinion about the course we should take in Cyprus and in Europe,” said AKEL General Secretary Andros Kyprianou and called on all citizens to vote.

“The EU decides on about 85 pct of our lives and thus it is of outmost importance to express our own view on where we want to go,” he added.

Sunday’s European Elections are a good opportunity to send the message that “our future can and must be free and democratic,” President of the Democratic Party (DIKO) Nikolas Papadopoulos said, after casting his vote at a polling station in Nicosia.

''We call on voters to protect democracy by countering extreme elements and behaviors within Europe by voting," was the message EDEK President Marinos Sizopoulos.

President of the Cyprus Green Party George Perdikis expressed hope that citizens will participate. “Nevertheless, I believe that the citizens will take the case of democracy into their own hands and participate in the election process, stating that they are present and demanding their future, their own future within a united Europe, a united Cyprus,” he added.

Decisions that affect our lives are taken at the European Parliament, President of the Citizens’ Alliance Yiorgos Lillikas said, and called on all Cypriot citizens to exercise their right to vote in the European Elections.

[Kathimerini Cyprus]

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